I am sure many of us have come across micro managers, I have been told there isn't the best way to tackle them. However, there must be a pattern to look upon and Proact rather than React.
My POV here is both, handing them( micromanagers) from the top management level and as well as other workers who work under and around the micro manager. But more importantly a tackleful strategy or a method top management can take.
Need some real life experiences in dealing with them and how one can be brought into control.
Following next - How can they be avoided (developing them)? - Is the culture of the company which should be blamed for their behavior?
The false premise in this question is the idea of "how to control your micro manager". The idea of "control" is what started this discussion in the first place. Most micromanaging stems from an insecurity that things are not going to be handled the way that they should be. The manager doesn't either truly trust his/her team OR his own management of his team. He wants to control everything to make sure it is a success (or match what he believes to be a success).
The next false premise is to spend time on finding someone to blame "Is the culture of the company which should be blamed for their behavior?" While it may make us feel better to "pass the buck" - it doesn't help us in out immediate situation. Cultural change in an organization takes time. But there are things we can immediately implement to get ahead.
As an individual and team contributor - one can only affect change in your own responses and reaction. That is where I recommend my clients to start.
In my experience, the best way to work with a micro manager is to understand their fears and their department goals. Then do everything you can to illustrate that you are in their corner; that they can rely and depend upon you; that you are their right hand person. And I'm talking about action and deeds (not lip service).
This is my same recommendation for working with any type manager or team. It's just that with a micro-manager, you need to increase or heighten your awareness and steps. For instance:
1) I normally recommend employees take the initiative to schedule regular one-on-one meetings with their managers once a week or at least twice monthly. If you are working with a micro-manager, you may need to schedule a 15 minute daily meeting. If you don't already have daily one-on-one meetings with your micro-manager proactively review what's been done, where you are now, and where you plan to be by the end of the day or week - start. If you schedule daily, regular check-ins - the manager will avoid interrupting you frequently because he knows he has a regular meeting already scheduled with you.
2) Be totally transparent with your manager (this is the same advice I would give working with any type of manager or team player). Since the micro management comes from insecurity and distrust, be an open book. Go out of your way to lay your cards on the table (using your frequently, scheduled one-on-one meetings) to discuss his expectations, the department goals, your goals. And explicitly discuss and show how you plan to achieve those goals. Illustrate that your goals and his goals are aligned. That when he does well, you know you will do well and vice-versa.
3) Ask him what you can do for him to achieve his business commitments and exactly what you need from him for you to help him meet his business commitments.
4) As him how often he would like an update, how he would like it, when he would like it. Create a Communication Plan and outline how you should communicate regular status, problem issues and solutions, Critical issues, etc. If you and he have an agreed upon communication method (like a fire escape plan) - he knows how (i.e. email on regular status, by phone on critical situations and your solution) and when (how frequently) he will be notified for different issues. [People often make the mistake of not reporting in when nothing has changed. The fact that nothing has changed is a status report and can be important information to your micro-manager ] Find out exactly what he needs from you to feel comfortable and safe. Then do it that way every time.
5) If your manager suddenly turns into a micro-manager (not his normal style); realize that he/she is probably getting some heat from his supervisors AND he is probably trying to shield you from the chaos from above (while at the same time get the executives the information that they need). Offer to attend and speak to the executives yourself (with your manager). This reduces some of the pressure, because you can answer the technical and day-to-day questions that the executives might have. You will also get some great high-level exposure as someone that really knows his stuff.
Once your manager realizes that he can count on you to deliver exactly what you say and when you said you would do it - he will be able to rely on not only your deliveries but your advice as well.
If you take on more of a leadership role in your relationship with your manager, he will feel more comfortable releasing some of his reigns. Sometimes people micro-manage because they can't literally see anyone else stepping up to the plate. Sooooo, Step UP!
The best way is always through helping your people to grow.
Think about the micro managers motivation - typically it is fear driven. Alleviate that fear. Give them the One Minute Manager book and talk about it... If they are tough to approach, hire an outside consultant to come in and talk with the whole group. Micromanagers run good employees away...so if you are not betting on this horse, perhaps it is time to restructure the department...
Keep in mind that micro-management is more about the Leader than anyone else. The behaviour of always needing to be involved is a product of being afraid of failing. These people live in the "if you want it done right do it yourself" camp. The lack of trust stems from the fear of what will happen if someone's "failure" is pinned on them.
Two plans of attack:
1. If you want to help them get past this then it needs to be dealt with at the root level and that means coaching them through their own fear to understand that the world won't end if something fails.
2. Second plan of attack is to raise their own self-awareness around what impact they have on their team because of their micro-managing ways. This can be done simply through a "check-in". It goes something like this:
You: Bob, you got a minute? I want to check in with you about something.
Bob: Sure. What is it?
You: I know the project we're working on is really important to you but the number of times you make me review it with you (or whatever the situation is) makes me feel like you don't trust me or my ability to do it properly. Is that how you really feel?
This will open the door to negotiate new terms to the relationship.